The Comparison Study of Different Operator Support Tools for Assembly Task in the Era of Global Production
Journal article, 2017
As part of a global production strategy, many manufacturing companies locate their assembly plants in different countries around the world. While outsourcing final assembly closer to key markets has competitive benefits, these companies face new challenges with communication and dissemination of information. Concerning shop-floor operators specifically, these challenges affect the initial training and continuing improvement work instructions in particular. Emerging information and communication technology (ICT) have created new opportunities for supporting operators cognitively. In this paper, an immersive virtual reality (IVR) training environment for LEGO gearbox assembly was developed and tested. IVR technologies offer new opportunities where operators can access training and work instructions in an immersive environment, which could potentially improve and influence the operator performance and emotion. Both objective performance and subjective emotion were measured and the impacts were analyzed. The results were compared with four different operator support approaches and it was seen that IVR technology has the potential of improving operator and that further studies on integration, information, communication design and development of measurement methods are needed before the industry can benefit from the full potential of IVR technology.